Columbia’s fifth ward councilman-elect is focusing on public safety and infrastructure as he prepares to take office. Donald Waterman spoke on 939 the Eagle’s “Wake Up Mid-Missouri”.
“One of my first priorities and highest priorities would be trying to fully fund the police and fill those empty positions. Find out why they’re vacant and what we’ve got to do to get those filled,” Waterman says.
75 percent of Columbia’s general fund is for public safety. Columbia Police assistant chief Jeremiah Hunter tells 939 the Eagle that CPD currently has around 25 to 27 vacancies.
Meantime, completing improvements on Columbia’s Forum Boulevard between Chapel Hill and Woodrail is a top priority for Mr. Waterman. Voters approved the $12.7 million dollar project as part of the 2015 capital improvement sales tax extension ballot measure.
“Widening Forum all the way four lanes all the way down to Nifong that’s budgeted, approved, planned. From what I understand should be ready to execute, so let’s get that executed, let’s get that done,” Waterman says.
Planned improvements include widening Forum with an additional driving lane in each direction, along with building sidewalks and bike lanes. Columbia Public Works spokesman John Ogan tells 939 the Eagle that construction is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2025.